|HCC Site ID:||1609||Parish:||Fareham|
|Designations:||CA, SSSI||Area:||3.64 ha|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:||Fareham Borough Council|
Location and site
Bath Lane Recreation Ground is a triangular shaped area situated between the railway, A27 road and the estuary of Wallington River, known locally as Fareham Creek or Lake. It appears that it may at one time have been vulnerable to flooding and erosion as a supporting wall has been built on the south west end of the ground. There is a slight gradient from the east to west and slopes north to south.
In 1891, the eastern land was purchased by the council as a recreation ground for Fareham inhabitants in perpetuity and has been a cricket ground since that time. The second edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map 1897/98 shows: a railway line across the northern boundary with some trees planted partway along; a footpath from under the railway bridge at Park Lane follows the northern boundary about halfway across the site and then drops south to the shoreline boundary where it meets the southern perimeter footpath; this footpath is noted from Payne’s Cottage, at the estuarine edge, and ends in front of Bath Cottages at the south eastern point of Park Lane; in the west, about a third of the ground is occupied by Allotment Gardens with no footpath access; at the south east corner of the allotment area, Paynes Cottage is noted and from here there is a more definite path west to Clarks Quay. It is likely that the Allotment Gardens were purchased in 1903 and amalgamated into the Recreation Ground (HGT Research 1996/97). In 1904, a Pavilion, for cricket and football, was built on the northern boundary near the Park Lane entrance. The third edition OS map of 1909-10 shows that: the allotments had been moved to the north of the railway line; the pavilion with a pathway extended right across the northern boundary; and that there was a continuous line of trees on the southern boundary. A line that separated the allotments from the cricket ground was still shown. Paynes Cottage was noted but not named. Apparently it was demolished between the two world wars and was not shown on the fourth edition OS map 1938-42. On this map, a line of trees only extended from the westerly entrance to the former site of Payne’s Cottage.
The A27 road was constructed adjacent to the railway line around the late 1960s. It seems likely that, at the same time, a pedestrian underpass was built under the road and railway linking the town centre to the grounds. These developments prevented access by vehicles to the whole of Park Lane.
In 1978, a separate clubhouse was built by Fareham Hockey and Fareham Cricket Clubs on the eastern boundary adjacent to the Victorian gates and small shrubbery. It was eventually run solely by the Cricket Club (F&CCC online May 2016-05-13).
For the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012, a large stone with a plaque was placed in the south east corner, and five trees were planted in a line alongside. In the same area, to commemorate the Olympics, rings were cut out of the turf and were planted with Narcissi.
In 2014, the pavilion had a major refurbishment and an extension was built on its eastern side for changing rooms. The central section is now a lounge and club bar area. The cricket ground and practice nets are run and maintained by the club, which leases the grounds from Fareham Borough Council. The old clubhouse was demolished and a secure groundsman’s garage was built in the south east corner, adjacent to a fine oak tree.
According to the Fareham Borough Council, during the summer months the grounds are used by schools for field sports (FBC online 2016-05-13).
Bath Lane recreation is a well maintained ground used mainly by the Fareham and Crofton Cricket Club that has two cricket pitches and practice nets. The northern pathway is part of the National Cycling Network. The children’s play area has a range of play equipment and is enclosed by railings with access provided by two gates, north and south. Just to the east of the play area is a football goal post that was in use at the time of our visit. The Pavilion is in good condition and is well shuttered against vandalism. The area is popular with dog walkers. There are fine views to the estuary and beyond to trees on the opposite shoreline. At the time of our visit in May, there was no evidence of schools using the ground for field sports. The recreation ground is within a Conservation area.
Summary and significance
Bath Lane Recreation Ground is an important open space alongside the estuary (Fareham Lake) which is within easy reach of the town centre. Still in use is the late C19 cricket ground with a modernised cricket pavilion. It also includes a children’s play area and a goal post. The northern pathway is part of the National Cycling Network.
HGT Research update: May 2016
Maps from Hampshire County Council (HCC) datasets
2nd ed OS 25” 1897/98
3rd ed OS 25” 1909/10
4th ed OS 25” 1838/42
HGT research 1996/97
Urban Park Survey 1997 HCC
F&CCC online http://farehamandcroftoncricket.hitscricket.co.uk/pages/page_11055/Pavillion.aspx [access 2016-05-13]
FBC online http://www.fieldsintrust.org/Bath-Lane-Recreation-Ground [access 2016-05-13]
Click here for link to Fareham Borough website